The disk drive in your computer will fail. It is not a question of if, but when. If you are lucky then it might not fail within the few years you own it, but there is no way to guarantee it. It might fail tomorrow or in 10 years’ time when you have sold on the computer or disposed of it in some other way.
The reliability of modern disk drives has lulled us into a sense of security that at one time could only be dreamed about. Long ago, about 20 years or so, disk drives would crash if you so much as sneezed in the same room as one. Now they are in laptops and can be carried, used on trains, planes and buses, all without skipping a single bit of data.
Just because nothing has gone wrong with the disk drive so far is not an excuse to become complacent. Disk drives should be backed up and you need a backup plan. It protects from disasters and also from human error. You might delete a file or folder accidentally, or modify a file in a way that has made it worse, and you want to return to the original file. A backup solves the problem.
There are many backup utilities and some of them are free, such as PureSync. This utility can be used to back up files on your personal computer without charge, but there is a Professional version for people that need more features and/or use it for business use.
I tried it in free mode and found it to be more than adequate for making backups of files and folders on the disk drive. It does not create disk images and it only backs up files and folders.
PureSync has two modes and it can mirror or it can back up. The two are similar and you choose the source folder to copy, such as C:\Users which contains all the user accounts, and the destination drive and folder. It is best to use a USB disk drive rather than backing up to the same disk of course.
The main difference is that backups store multiple versions of files, whereas mirroring makes an identical copy in the destination.
There are several useful options, such as running a backup when a device is connected, such as a camera, when the computer starts up, shuts down, or has been idle for a certain length of time.
There is no compression or encryption in the free version of PureSync, but these are available in the Pro version. Also the freebie will not copy files that are in use, but the Pro version will. That’s fair enough and these are not severe limitations. You can always upgrade if you want.
Files are copied to the destination exactly as they are in the source. A restore facility is therefore not strictly needed and you can simply browse the USB disk and copy files and folders off using Explorer if you need to. There is a restore tool though, and you can use it to compare the source and destination and restore files and folders.
Backup or mirroring jobs are saved and will run on a schedule or you can manually select them and set then running. The first time is slow of course, because every source file must be copied to the destination, but subsequent jobs are fast because you can specify that only the changed files are copied.
There are lots of settings to specify which files are included or excluded in the mirror or backup, such as examining the date, size, file extension, and so on. You can choose to keep or delete files in the destination that have been deleted from the source, run programs or shut down the computer afterwards and more.
If you don’t want to fiddle around with lots of settings, File History in Windows 8 and 10 will suit you better. PureSync has a lot more features and is more flexible, but you do need to configure a lot of settings to get it to do what you want. Windows 7 doesn’t have File History, so PureSync is especially useful there.
Developer: Jumping Bytes
Size: 11 MB
Verdict: A useful free utility for backing up that offers more options than File History.